Trinidad Rio and Brigo
Raw Kaiso 2
Calypso — AKA “kaiso” in Trinidad — has suffered at the hands of pop culture as the happy music of the island natives. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as this collection of tracks from kaiso superstars Brigo and Trinidad Rio demonstrates. Granted, the sound is mostly happy, but the songs themselves are often razor-sharp commentaries on life in Trinidad, utilizing clever lyrics and a charismatic delivery to bring the message across. For example, Trinidad Rio’s “Body Parts” is apparently about opening a business of interracial organ transplants — bringing home the point that we’re all assembled from essentially the same components: “An’ all dem decapitated bodies/ Dey find scatter all over de land/ Ah going an’ preserve dem in meh deep freeze/ An’ sell them substitute an’ second hand.” Lyrics are thankfully included, and footnoted, in case you can’t decipher this particular English dialect. A wonderful record that manages to be tropical without being lazy and brainless.
Rounder Records, 1 Camp St., Cambridge, MA 02140; http://www.rounder.com